Bougainville looks towards the referendum at 2015 election

Panguna villagers vote in Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville back in May, 2010. This was the second ever general election and the tiny Pacific island now prepares for the 2015 referendum on full independence from PNG. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Kerryn Baker and Thiago Cintra Oppermann, ANU

Bougainville went to the polls in May 2015 for the third Autonomous Bougainville Government election since the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed in 2001. The election was a significant political milestone for the region, marking the beginning of a five-year window in which a referendum on independence is scheduled to be held. It also saw the first woman member of the House of Representatives to be elected in an open seat, Josephine Getsi of Peit constituency. Read more…

Reforms can secure Papua New Guinea’s growth

The Motu stilt village in Port Moresby March 22, 2014. They were rebuilt in all-Australian building materials, corrugated iron and fibrocement and the people have retained many traditional Motu customs. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Paul Holden, PPSDI

Papua New Guinea’s recent period of exponential growth places it among the world’s most rapidly developing economies.

Between 2005 and 2014, PNG’s economy expanded at a real annual rate of 6.6 per cent and income per capita reached US$2,081. Read more…

Papua New Guinea’s informal economy needs support

A street vendor sells betel nuts on Manus Island, PNG. Authorities believe the trade is a blight on the country, but it is also an important domestic industry. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Busa Jeremiah Wenogo, CIMC, and John Conroy, ANU

In Papua New Guinea (PNG) it is government policy to encourage growth and development of the informal economy. This may surprise observers aware of how often the ‘informal sector’ is the subject of controversy. Read more…

Crunch time in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill arrives at an event in Port Moresby in 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The talk in Canberra is that the priority in Australia’s diplomacy for 2015 will be its own backyard in the Pacific. This is long overdue, and may be too late. Mending diplomatic fences with Fiji may be one thing; Australia’s ability to have a positive impact on outcomes in Papua New Guinea is likely to be quite another thing altogether. Read more…

Is PNG heading for a crisis?

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill waves upon arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stephen Howes, ANU

Last year in Papua New Guinea was eventful, marked by a series of controversial government decisions.

In March, the government decided to take out a loan of about 3 billion kina (US$1.2 billion, about 8 per cent of GDP) to buy shares in Oil Search. Read more…

PNG’s exchange rate policy hurting the poor

A Papua New Guinean woman and her children dry coffee beans outside their house in the Western Highlands, Nebilyer Valley. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Flanagan, ANU

Earlier this year, Papua New Guinea moved away from a market-based exchange rate. It seemed just a technical announcement at the time. The central bank indicated that the exchange rate would float within a narrow band around the interbank exchange rate. However, this seemingly innocuous announcement has major implications for PNG’s future development. Read more…

Is PNG’s Westminster system worth keeping?

Voters queue up at a polling place in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands at the start of the country's 11-day polling period in Det 2 village on 30 June, 2007.  (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sean Jacobs, New Guinea Commerce

The Papua New Guinea Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) is currently scrutinising the viability of PNG’s Westminster system of government. PNG has persisted with a Westminster system since before its independence in 1975. Read more…